Article by Michael Goforth II:
Monday morning text from friend: "Hey, my aunt has hip surgery tomorrow morning and we would appreciate your prayers!" Your response: "Okay, I will be praying!"
Wednesday morning text from friend: "Thank you so much for your prayers, the surgery went great!" Your initial response to yourself: "Shoot, I totally forgot to pray about that. . ."
Feeling super guilty, you respond with a vague: "That's so great to hear!"
Has that ever happened to you? If so, you're not alone. Unfortunately, this happens far too often with far too many Christians. To be honest, sometimes when people say, "I'll pray for you!" I'm thankful, but I'm also slightly suspicious about whether or not that will actually happen. I know that's kind of negative, but I also know it's kind of realistic. And that's why I'm writing this article.
I want to share a super simple habit you can build to help you actually pray for your friends and family when you say you will. It's not original with me, and it's nothing new, but it is excellent advice. The title kind of gives it away, but here it is:
When you receive a prayer request from someone, stop what you're doing and pray right then and there for the request.
It doesn't have to be a long and elaborate prayer either. You simply pause, and bring the request to your heavenly Father. After all, if you're His child, you have blood bought access to His throne room at any time, why wouldn't you use it?
After praying right then and there, it's also helpful to add the request to your prayer list if you have one. And if you really want a pro tip, use a reminders app on your phone to remind you to pray again later. This is especially helpful if the request is time-sensitive like your friend's aunt who has hip surgery tomorrow morning.
I get little reminders all throughout the day that say, "Pray for ____'s surgery." or "Pray for ____'s job interview." or "Pray for comfort for the ____ family during this time." Not only does this help me actually pray for them more than once, it also keeps me in contact with my heavenly Father all throughout the day.
This habit is especially powerful if you receive a request in person and you pray with the person right then and there. You'd be surprised how encouraging this is to someone who is in need of prayer!
Let's walk through another scenario with this great new prayer habit you've been practicing:
Friday evening text from friend: "Please pray for my unbelieving co-worker, I plan on sharing the gospel with them today."
You read the text, stop what you're doing, and pray: "Father, please empower ____ as he shares his faith at work today! And please work in the heart of his co-worker so that he would come to faith! Amen."
Your response: "I just prayed and will continue to! That is very exciting, so please keep me posted!"
As you can see, this is simple, but it is also extremely powerful. With this habit, you're simply taking God at His Word, believing that prayer actually makes a difference, and then praying. Imagine the joy that would fill your heart, if the co-worker in that scenario trusted Christ! You would be a part of advancing the light of God's kingdom in this dark and needy world.
So start praying right away. I think you'll find this practice to be very encouraging, especially when you start witnessing how powerful prayer really is.